Grandpa May Not Have Instagram, But That’s No Reason to Forego Influencer Marketing

Opinion: It’s often thought that senior citizens aren’t reachable via social channels

When marketers ponder using influencers as a marketing strategy, they generally imagine millennials on Snapchat, bubbly 20-somethings on Instagram and youthful, energetic mommy bloggers writing about everything from how to get stains out of baseball pants to the latest political scandal—not salt-and-pepper seniors over 65. It’s often thought that senior citizens aren’t reachable via social channels. Until fairly recently, this was true, but influencer-based content has been proving to be an effective way to target this mature demo.

In fact, a recent Nielsen report showed that the percentage of total media time spent on social media in the oldest demographic (50-plus) increased by a whopping 64 percent, to 20 percent.

Put another way, grandparents and their peers are finally becoming social media converts as they use channels like Facebook to keep in touch with their increasingly scattered families.

When pursuing consumers over 65, marketers need to be thoughtful about where they place the message. Equally as important as getting your product or service in front of the target consumer, marketers should remember to direct their message to the people who help seniors make key decisions, including family members—particularly those who live in a multigenerational household—caregivers, nurses and medical practitioners.

Our agency actually did this for Walgreens to educate folks on Medicare Part D. The content we created was powerful because it was meaningful and authentic to that particular audience. It wasn’t pretty pictures, but information people really needed to know, delivered by experts and people who’d been through it.

To add a layer of trust and authority to your campaign, consider adding a call to action, driving the consumer into a store or facility to speak with a professional about your product.

Another way to extend the scope of your campaign is to call upon your carefully selected influencers to show different ways of using your product—“tips and tricks” that come from someone who is viewed as an objective commentator can be really useful. This content can then be syndicated, both online within your influencers’ social channels and in print. We’re talking about blog posts that are shared on your influencer’s social channels to reach a portion of your audience, then printed in local newspapers and magazines to increase the reach and effectiveness exponentially.

Social influencers who are peers of your target demographic or people who produce content designed to engage them can tell personal and unique stories that highlight key messages around your product. This creates relevancy and builds awareness with seniors 65-plus. Working with influencers who have first-hand knowledge of your subject matter and who are used to communicating with this older demographic will give you an authentic voice and more organic, meaningful content.

Influencer managers communicating with this particular demographic may need a slightly different approach. Sometimes older influencers are not as tech-savvy as their millennial counterparts, but they want to give your campaign the best possible outcome, so be patient with them. Give them a helping hand and offer some suggestions as to possible story angles. As with younger influencers, it’s important not to stifle their creativity but make sure you’re clear about your communication goals.

It’s also important to remember that this is a diverse demographic. There are some seniors who are extremely comfortable in the online world, others who are more recent converts and might need a little hand-holding and still others for whom the internet is a baffling place. A strategy that utilizes a combination of online and print influencer communications might just be the best bet for reaching as many of your target with your particular message.

Like the rest of us, seniors enjoy useful information and will often interact with it by passing it on—whether cutting out a newspaper article, forwarding a blog post or sharing a Facebook post. And their caregivers and family members are always on the lookout for ways to make their seniors’ lives more comfortable and happy.

When properly deployed and optimized, a campaign targeting this demographic can yield a great community reaction and foster brand loyalty from a valuable and often overlooked online audience.

Amanda Fuquay is a campaign strategist at social content syndicator Carusele.

Image courtesy of xavierarnau/iStock.